Pilkington Glass, St.Helens
Photographed in January 2023, the building was in a very poor state with smashed windows, graffiti and general decay all around the site. This didn't detract from the photogenic nature of the interior so it was a couple of hours well spent.
Pilkington Glass was founded in 1826 as a partnership between members of the Pilkington and Greenall families, under the name St. Helens Crown Glass Company.
The first glass-making furnace in St Helens was operational by 1700, so by the time St Helens Crown Glass Company was established there was already competition.
The building photographed here was the HQ canteen and was completed in 1964 in a distinctive Modernist style. The well-being of the staff who worked there was at the forefront of the design plans with the site sitting in a mini modernist utopia. The canteen was a bright and spacious area and overlooked the adjacent lake which could be viewed through a series of oversized windows which were installed specifically to utilise these views and promote well-being.
Pilkington was acquired by the Japanese firm Nippon Sheet Glass in 2006 and in 2015 the sale of the former St. Helens HQ was agreed, with the 125 remaining staff being transferred to the Lathom facility, near Ormskirk.
Some additional info via email from Donald Mackay - who lives close by - regarding the tropical fish!
The body of water next to the building was reputed to have tropical fish as the water was so warm from the glass making process.The water was funnelled from the glass making process, which is why it was warm.